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Posted by nancy

February 8th 2011

hello. i'm writing you b4 I finish the Trial..that's how fascinated I am with your mind.. your work is making me want to go back to my silly little memoir..thanks for that. so far no question on the book except that I've been googling Paul Marotte..not accepting he' s pure fiction; however, nowthat I've read your bio. do do tell me how you accepted Jesus as a reality as you said you were raised Catholic.. having had a Jewish mother, I would imagine the doubting genes always get inthe way.. though clearly you found a bridge between the two box office religions when you brought CS Lewis together with ..oops, Deborah Winger.. anyway, adore your work and can't wait to wrap my teeth around the next one at my little NYC library.

William Nicholson responded:

I'm afraid you're right about the doubting genes, which have long led me into agnosticism. But at least early exposure to faith has kept my imagination wide open. Do go back to your memoir - maybe it'll turn into a classic.

Posted by Charlotte Meredith

February 7th 2011

Thank you ever so much for responding to my question. I completely agree that the vast majority of children's literature has a darker side and that children are not innocent to it. That is why I chose to compare Rich and Mad with Peter Pan; one is realistic and one is fantastical but both books are about how difficult it is to grow up. It is such a shame that schools/parents/bookshops are being put off Rich and Mad because of the sexual content as it is so much more than that; I think you achieved your aim of hoping to be truthful about the nature of love and your book could really benefit a lot of young readers. Teenagers so often fail to distinguish between love and lust and, as you say, parents are naive to the ubiquitous nature and impact of pornography today. I hope people will come to appreciate Rich and Mad more, and if it is any consolation my lecturer hopes that you are pleased to find that you have been included on a university reading list! If you like i'll send you my essay when I have finished? Thanks again, Charlotte

William Nicholson responded:

I am very honoured to be on a university reading list. Yes, do send the essay when it's done, I'd love to read it. Could you send it to me c/o Egmont, the publisher. The address is in the book.

Posted by Ian Macilwain

February 7th 2011

I have just finished 'the Society of Others ' while on holiday in Prague .I found it a totally captivating read reminiscent of Kafka and 1984 rolled into one. Having first travelled to eastern europe in 1970 I found the sense of quiet menace painfully accurate. Underpinning the work are profound psychological insights which as a retired psychiatrist/psychotherapist resonated strongly . Can I ask from where you draw that inspiration ? I hope for more surreal output in the future.

William Nicholson responded:

How wonderful to find my Society of Others still getting fresh readers. I put so much into that book, far more than any reader known to me has realised. Should you care to glance back at the book one day, it may amuse you to note that everywhere the word 'red' appears, the scene described is in fact a painting in the National Gallery - in other words, it is part of the hero's memory, which is what is furnishing his journey. Where's it all drawn from? In its way I used this odd little fable as a vehicle for a lifetime's reflections on - oh, everything. How to live. How to find contentment. I'm omnivorous in my reading. I spent fifteen years working for the BBC's Religious TV department, making programmes about all sorts of faiths, spiritual journeys, and pop-psych adventures. And I have a strong background as a Catholic, though I've been well-lapsed since university. As for more output, my current work in the novel form, though not surreal, continues to give me scope for my exploration of the same issues. 'The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life', the first of a series of novels, is naturalistic but also in its way philosophical. Do take a look.

Posted by Charlotte Meredith

February 5th 2011

Hello Mr Nicholson, I'm a third year English Literature student at Kingston University and I've just finished your fantastic novel Rich and Mad, I also loved your Wind on Fire trilogy as a child. I'm 22 now and I really wish I had been able to read Rich and Mad when I was a confused, love-lorn teenager; it would have answered a lot of questions for me! I am considering writing about your novel for one of my upcoming assignments about children's/young adult's literature. My idea is to compare Rich and Mad with Peter Pan and consider the differences between Victorian children's literature and children's literature today. Particularly with regards to exploring the problems of growing up, morality and the depiction of love. I would love to know how you feel children's literature ought to be written; how does a children's author know when to draw the line? Is it better to expose children to the harsh reality of the world or protect their innocence with fantasy? Would you say Rich and Mad is didactic? If so do what do you hope your readers (regardless of age) will learn from it? I look forward to your reply and thank-you for letting me remember the horrors of my own adolescence with nostalgia, humour and just a little bit of regret that i'm not seventeen anymore. Kind Regards, Charlotte

William Nicholson responded:

You ask important questions. I'm not sure any of us know for sure where to draw the line - different children at different times need different approaches. On the whole young readers determine this by their choice of reading matter. They will resist anything too far beyond their comprehension, or too unpleasant. But I do not believe they are innocent; nor do I believe fantasy is harmless. There's harsh reality in the Grimms' fairytales, and the brutal truths they deal in are loved by young readers. I think I would say that truth in any form is acceptable, but should not be forced on an unready reader. Let them come in their own time. As for Rich and Mad, yes, there is a didactic element in there. I had the conscious intention of demonstrating the ways in which sex is enriched by love, in contrast with that other primary model of sexual activity, internet pornography. I intended also to pass on a lot of information about boys to girls, and vice versa. But I did try to do it as truthfully and as entertainingly as I could. I'm glad you like the book. A lot of bookshops, schools, and parents have been frightened off it because it's explicit. In believing they are protecting their children by avoiding my book they show how little they know of the presence of porn in their children's lives.

Posted by Christopher Wiggin

February 5th 2011

I have just returned from seeing you speak at my daughters school and wanted to congratulate you on a totally inspiring talk. I only wish my daughter was there to see it but she is ill at home You have a wonderful talent and are hugely inspirational.I wish every child in the country could listen to what you have to say Thankyou Chris

William Nicholson responded:

I'm happy you found my talk worth while. I never quite know whether what I'm saying makes sense to my audience. So thanks for taking the trouble to pass on your response.

Posted by Fergus

January 31st 2011

hello i really like the wind on fire trilogy but i prefer the seeker triligy. Anyway i was looking at your other books and wondered what that new book you were talking about, Well what was it actually aboat

William Nicholson responded:

I'm not saying anything about my new idea until it's come clearer in my head, because I don't want to jinx it, or to catch myself thinking it sounds pretty lame before I've even written it. Give me a few more months.